Monday, February 18, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez - An Economics Major?

No. Her Wikipedia entry about her degree states:
She graduated cum laude from Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, majoring in international relations and economics.[24][28][29]
In the boxed summary (top of article, right), AOC's degree is reported as a BA from Boston University. So, to recap, she has a BA in International Relations. It would appear that the Economics part is a TRACK - the International Economics, Business, and Politics Track, in fact.

[NOTE: I had written Boston College above - I double-checked to see that the info on coursework was from BU - it was - and made the correction]

The students who chose that track do have to take certain Economics courses - the CAS (College of Arts and Sciences) EC 392 International Economics

Among the required coursework: [Fixed this - was not displaying well]

EC 201 Intermediate microeconomic analysis

ec 202 intermediate macroeconomic analysis

EC 320 economics of less-developed regions

EC 391 International Economics I

eC 391 International Economics II: problems and policy

Other than two courses relation to specific regions (Latin America and China), that's it for coursework in the Economics Dept., other than a few advanced level courses, two of them similar in name and number to those offered at the undergraduate level. I can't say just how skewed the teaching was in the direction of Leftist thought, but other than the first 2 courses, nothing indicates that the courses were primarily analytical.

The other coursework is in International Relations, Politics, Management, or other non-economics areas. So, it would appear that AOC had a concentration (at Boston College, called a Track) in Economics, Business, and Politics. NOT an Econ major, although that has been the implied degree in many of the stories written about her. Many of them skate over the actual major, preferring to word the details as though she were a budding Milton Friedman (only smarter and more woke).

I'm not saying that she is not smart in specific areas - given her interest in science, she likely scored rather well on the math/science areas of the ACT. Much has been made of her participation in the Intel Science Fair:
She won second prize in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a microbiology research project on the effect of antioxidants on the lifespan of the nematode C. elegans.[21]
There were 3 top finishers that year - she was NOT one of them. I would surmise that her second place finish was in the subsection of Microbiology. Not bad, but not the absolute top. I've talked to other teachers, and many of the participating students work with mentors - it's not a matter of solo brilliance. They do get some assistance and guidance from actual scientists.

The remainder of the coursework in the International Relations track she likely followed is more politically oriented in the usual Leftist slant. Her identification with Socialism is an extension of her studies, and is not based on a rigorous analysis of conditions in the less-developed world, but more on her politically-oriented viewpoint.

So - to sum up AOC's much-hyped Economics Knowledge. She likely has a bare knowledge of the basic concepts. That good beginning has been overlaid with a heavy mass of Standard College Leftism - and only the last part of that education, seemingly, stuck.


Ed Bonderenka said...

Well. That explains that!
Thank you.

Tom Kratman said...

BU =/= BC

JayneI said...

Great research. It is a puzzle why that gal, too young to have any wisdom, has gained so much high profile media.
PS Boston University (BU) and Boston College (BC) are two, vastly, different colleges. I believe the congresswoman graduated from BU.

JHP2 said...

She attended BU, not BC as mentioned in the body of the article. You may want to correct that in your post and also confirm that you are looking at the right school.

Mark Clausen said...

I found that during my college years (far too long ago), the more I learned, the more I realized I didn't know... things that only decades of experience might teach me. With more than 30 years since my college days, I feel like I've earned the right to claim some level of competence in certain areas.

Given that AOC (with her extremely limited experience in the world outside of academia) acts as if she knows more than those very much senior to her, I can only surmise that she didn't learn much at all during her tenure at BU.

Always On Watch said...


To get my BA in Spanish from UVA back in 1972, I had to take 8 300-level courses in Spanish.

Linda Fox said...

Thank you for the correction on the college - I'll correct it ASAP. I checked - I did get the information from BU, but carelessly wrote BC.

Paul, Dammit! said...

My first job outside of my own undergrad U was at BU. It was... chaotic. Departments in Biology and Physics, at least, ran as fiefs of the department head. In neurophysiology, where I was, the department head selected one lucky student every few years and knocked her up, sometimes marrying her in the process, and then moving on. She always ended up with a doctorate, anyhow. It wasn't uncommon there. Favoritism was a thing, but there was (is?) a systemic push to move everyone up. People were often forced to employ others where it wasn't necessary, pairing stronger researchers or student with weaker, always female, students. Weaker male students did seem to be left to their own devices, and didn't last.
I had a LOT of female students foisted on me, and it was suggested I use them for mindless tasks such as data collection and lab prep. For this they got various prizes, from work/study money to contributing author credit on my publications, which, as the only undergrad who was publishing at the time, really pissed me off.